Does Size Really Matter?

By Sonya Lee

Every six months, I faithfully head to a local jewelry store to get my diamond solitaire engagement ring inspected and cleaned; and for what seems like the last eight years, the dialogue is always the same.

“Hi, I’d like to get my ring inspected.”

“Sure,” the sales associate replies as she inspects my stone and examines my paperwork. “Isn’t it about time for an upgrade?”

A pause while I ponder – Do people really do that? “Wouldn’t that mean I have to give you my ring?”

“Well, yes, but look what you would be getting,” she entices.  As always, I play the part of an interested customer and gaze at the over-sized diamonds.

Sure, my ring is small by most jewelry standards, but it is symbolic of what my husband had to give at the time. Eight hundred dollars was a great deal of money to a struggling college student who was working at Office Max making copies to pay his rent, gas and utilities. Eight hundred dollars was more than he could afford at that time, but he spent it because he thought I was worth the investment.

While I gaze into the jewelry case, I rub my fingers over my ring and imagine the events leading up to my husband’s proposal. I see him anxiously heading to the jewelry store on that day during his lunch break and picking out my ring. He undoubtedly scratches his head and smoothes over his hair as he listens to the saleswoman drone on about cut and clarity. Cautiously, he makes what he believes to be an informed decision. He pays extra for the lifetime warranty as he expects the ring and the marriage to last just that – a lifetime. He nervously shoves the ring into his khaki colored pants and heads back to work – where he continues to make copies for the rest of the afternoon – the extra weight in his pocket a constant reminder of how his life will forever change in a few short hours. I smile at the thought of how he must have rehearsed what he was going to say on his thirty minute drive home – hands gripping the steering wheel so tight that his knuckles were white and clammy.

Then, I remember how he entered the apartment that late August afternoon – a rush of summer heat counteracted by his naturally cool, laidback personality. I remember being in the kitchen and hearing him groan in pain and lean down to grasp his knee – something he did often due to a childhood injury resulting in a broken patella. I rushed over to help him up – only to see him reach into his pocket and pull out my simple, yet elegant ring in a cream-colored box with a plush, burgundy, velvet lining. “Sonya, will you marry me?”  I was speechless. I shook my head and hugged him. I thought I was getting a scanner for my birthday.

I proudly showed off my ring in the weeks to come. One of my students even commented, “He must love you a lot. That ring is huge!” I thought so too. I was twenty-two and in love. It wasn’t the size of the physical diamond that I saw, but the size of the heart that had given me the ring. For after all, the ring was just a symbol – a reminder of the love we shared and the life commitment we were about to make.

So, every year as the enthusiastic associate makes her sales pitch in the hopes of a big commission, my answer is always the same. “No, I’m attached to this one.” Yes, the other rings are superior in size and more refulgent than my ring, but, they lack the one characteristic that makes my half carat solitaire priceless – the memory of the love that first budded as a teenage crush and over the years bloomed into a promise of love everlasting.

About this writer

  • Sonya Lee Sonya Lee lives in Chesterfield, Virginia, with her husband and two children. She teaches high school English and enjoys writing candidly about her life experiences.

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8 Responses to “Does Size Really Matter?”

  1. Nancy Prince says:

    I enjoyed reading this Sonya. I wish you continued happiness with your ring and your family!

  2. Kathy Smith says:

    Keep the ring – and the husband – always! Sounds like a man who loves you. And it sounds like you know that and love him to. May your lifetime be filled with many wonderful experiences together.

  3. Jo Adamson says:

    Sonya Lee, I loved your story about your ring! It’s refreshing to read about someone who knows the value of true love and commitment and sees a ring as a symbol of love and not an indication of wealth. I get so tired of the “Good Housewives franchaise.. and the women on the show who judge their diamonds by the size of the carat and their husbands by the size of their…. bank accounts.

    • Sonya says:

      Thanks, Jo! And yes, it is unfortunate that we now live in a society where so many believe bigger is better.

  4. Storm says:

    Your story demonstates the significance of priority and perspective.

    Some things are simply irreplaceable…


  5. Sonya, my engagement ring diamond is very small. We were struggling college students as well when my husband proposed to me. I’ve been wearing my ring for 38 years now, though. Can’t imagine giving it up. Many more happy years to you and your sweet hubby!

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